Saucer Takes Flight
Attention, beer geeks. Your temple of brew is back. The Flying Saucer has returned, and if you weren’t able to be there last Thursday when the place opened the doors of its new space, on the corner of 3rd and Commerce streets (formerly occupied by 8.0), well, why the hell not?
I had to work, which is why I missed it, but according to bartender Homer Clemons, the staff got word on Wednesday that the bar could be ready by the next day’s happy hour. Sure enough, the doors opened at 5 p.m. on Thursday, despite the presence of workmen wielding saws and ladders. “We were pretty much three people deep from the moment we opened,” Homer said. “It was badass.”
And while business was considerably slower when I went for a late lunch the other day, I can’t imagine the early-afternoon doldrums will last for long, because Homer’s right — the new Saucer is indeed badass.
For starters, the new space has a lot more comfy seating. From the entryway, booths extend all the way to the back of the room, the walls covered with the names of everyone who had a UFO Club plate from the old place. Awarded for drinking 200 different brews, the plates hung all over the walls of the old Saucer, pretty much across the street downtown. In the new space, the plates will line the walls near the ceiling, once the 67-day window from opening has expired –– by the Saucer’s rules, a plate can’t be hung until after a 67-day period, allegedly the scientifically determined amount of time in which a body can reasonably consume 200 different beers.
More booths and tall tables occupy the inner section between the taproom and the beer garden. I can’t recall the exact dimensions of the patio when it was part of Eight-O, but it looks bigger now. Not that this is a bad thing. To me, the old patio was a sprawling, expanse of concrete populated by uncomfortable metal furniture and always-crowded circular six-tops. All of that black metal has been replaced by rows of natural-finished picnic tables and benches that complement the trees. Given the shade provided by the old patio’s cover and the trees, the Saucer’s outdoor space is pretty inviting. While nobody’s booked to play music yet, Homer said that will change soon enough.
As for the beer selection, it’s the same voluminous, revolving cast of crafts from all over the world, currently at 80 taps and 250 bottles, give or take. I had a Rahr Gravel Road, an alt-bier that I couldn’t get behind last summer –– I’ve since had an Alaskan alt-bier that didn’t bother me, so I thought I’d revisit Rahr’s, comparing it to one made by Breckenridge Brewery in Colorado. Maybe I’ve acquired a taste for maltier beers, because the Gravel Road was much more appealing this time around. It’s still not my favorite Rahr brew, but I liked it more than its cousin from the Rocky Mountain State. But then my food came out, and I kind of forgot about alt-biers altogether, on account of some fancy cheese.
The Saucer’s food and beer pairings are part of what makes this a place for folks who are serious about their palates, especially in regard to cheese. I could take or leave much of the old menu, though I always greedily ate the Big Dipper roast beef sandwich. On the new menu, the Big Dipper is called a Saucer Dipster, which I nearly ordered until Homer told me they had burgers now. So I opted for the Saucer Burger, a half-pound of beef topped with pepper jack or an artisanal cheese of your choice for a buck more. I ordered mine with Red Dragon, a Welsh cheddar made with brown ale and mustard seeds, which transformed a decent belly-filler into one of the best-tasting burger experiences I’ve had in recent memory.
Other changes: The new Saucer serves liquor. When I worked the door at the old place, some of the most annoying conversations I had to have were the ones with people leaving because the bar had only beer. Usually it was a bachelorette party or pack of dudebros, and I usually sent them to The Library right down the street. So now, all you soon-to-be-Mr.-and-Mrs. Dudebros, you can have your flavored vodka at the Saucer. But this being a beer bar and all, you’re going to pay for it. The emphasis is on brews, so don’t be pissed when your Royal Fuck sets you (or Daddy) back nine bucks. You should be drinking a beer anyway. Try a Gravel Road. I think the batch is better this year. –– Steve Steward
The Flying Saucer
111 E 3rd St, FW.
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